Mutual Exchange Find someone else to swap homes with

Need more bedrooms? Downsizing? Want to move closer to family or a new job? A mutual exchange is a quick way for two or more households to swap homes and move to the areas of their choice.

The Housing Act 1985 gives tenants the right to do this with another LHP, council or housing association tenant from this or any other area. You may be eligible - with our permission - to exchange or 'swap' your property if:

  • You live in self-contained accommodation, for example a house or flat
  • Both you and the tenant you want to exchange homes with are renting your homes from the council or housing association
  • Both of you have a secure or assured tenancies.

An exchange is an ‘assignment of tenancies’, which means you enter an agreement to hand over your tenancy to the other party in the exchange, and they do the same. You then take responsibility for the other party’s tenancy on the same terms and conditions as them.

The benefits of a mutual exchange

A mutual exchange can offer a quick way to move and can be easy to arrange. It is particularly useful if you:

  • need a smaller or larger home
  • are interested in moving to a new area
  • want to find a more suitable home
  • want to avoid a lengthy wait for a transfer
  • want to remain a LHP tenant or a tenant of a registered provider of housing.

Here are some useful questions and answers to guide you through the process.

 

  • Do I need permission for a mutual exchange?

    Yes - the landlord of each tenant involved must agree to this in writing. You must not exchange your home without our permission. If you do, you may have to move back and we could take legal action to end your tenancy.

     

  • How do I find a swap?

    It is up to you to find someone to swap with you. You could do this by using:

    Homeswapper

    Homeswapper is a free service that helps you find an exchange locally or anywhere in the country.
    Register for free – and once your application has been approved by us, you can advertise your home and search for a suitable swap.

    Homeswapper will even search for suitable ‘matches’ – suggesting potential swaps.

    To increase your chance of finding a ‘match’ try to be flexible about the areas and type of property you want to move to – it could increase your chances of success.

    Homeswapper also have a free app where you can:

    • view and manage property matches
    • view local area information
    • use the interactive mapping tool to see property locations, transport links and amenities
    • message other swappers and landlords
    • upload photos directly from your smartphone
    • sign-up for email alerts
    • view rent costs
    • manage your account.

    National schemes

    In addition to Homeswapper, you may also find exchanges through alternative national mutual exchange schemes like House Exchange and Exchange Locata. You will be charged for using these because we do not subscribe to them. Other non-specialist websites like Gumtree may also advertise exchanges.

    Local adverts and social media

    You might want to place adverts in shop windows, local press or on social media. You may find someone through our Lincolnshire Housing Partnership Facebook page.

    Homeswapper provide useful hints and tips to help you including how to be a successful swapper, how to use Facebook, how to improve your advert photographs, the things to do when viewing a home and how to find your perfect match.

  • What should I consider once I find a suitable match?

    When you find a suitable match you need to contact the other tenant to discuss a potential swap. You should view the property to make sure it is suitable for your needs.

    You should:

    • check that the property is in good repair
    • make sure the property is suitable for your needs
    • find out which alterations, fixtures and fittings belong to the property and which belong to the outgoing tenant.
    • ask the tenant if they intend to remove any alterations and replace them with the landlord’s original fittings
    • check the tenancy terms and conditions for the new property and make sure you understand and are happy with them.

    LHP will not get involved in these arrangements and will not carry out repairs to any items which are not our responsibility.

    Remember:

    • It is important that you are clear on the terms and arrangements for moving.
    • You will be responsible for the decoration in the property you exchange into. LHP will not provide any paint, decorating materials or financial help towards re-decoration.
    • Any gas or electrical items that are not our responsibility must be tested by an approved company. You should obtain written confirmation that this has been done.
    • Any arrangements you make regarding items to be sold or left behind in the property are solely your responsibility.

    If you are unsure please seek independent legal advice.

    Homeswapper’s Top 10 Tips for a Successful Swap provides information on what you will need to consider before moving.

  • What happens when I want to swap?

    When you find another tenant who you would like to exchange with, you will both need to complete our online application form to seek our permission. Both parties have to complete our form whether they are a LHP tenant or a tenant of another landlord.

    When we receive your application we will arrange a time to visit and inspect your property before any decision is made on your application.

    We will check for any alterations, repairs or damages that may become the responsibility of the incoming tenant or which may need to be fixed before you move. As this is a visual inspection while your home is occupied, other issues may become apparent once the property is empty.

    We will write to you with our findings and tell you about any improvements or damage you will become responsible for if the exchange goes ahead. We will also inform you if there are any repairs identified that we will carry out.

    Please remember, you will also be responsible for clearance of any items left in the property by the previous tenants.

    We will consider your application and let you know our decision within 42 days of receiving your application.

  • Could my application be refused?

    Yes - but permission will only be refused where there is good reason.

    We can refuse permission, if:

    • You have rent arrears
    • A history of causing nuisance or anti-social behaviour
    • We are taking legal action to repossess your home or the home you want to exchange with (if it is our property)
    • We are taking legal action to repossess your home or we have served you with a Notice of Seeking Possession
    • One of the properties is going to be under or over-occupied.
    • One of the properties is adapted and the person moving into the property does not require the adaptations.

    We also expect your reference checks to clear and the property to be in a satisfactory condition. Other criteria may also apply.

    Both exchange partners must have consent of their landlord before swapping. Each landlord should let you know whether you will be given assured or assured shorthold tenancies.

    We will contact you if you do not have the right to exchange and give you the reasons why.

  • Will you still let me swap if I do not have the right to exchange?

    In exceptional circumstances, consent may be granted to allow an exchange where you do not meet the criteria but you:

    • need to downsize to avoid a debt increasing
    • improve your wellbeing by moving to more suitable accommodation
    • have been the victim of or threatened with abuse or violence (including domestic violence) and the move will assist in protecting you from future violence or abuse.

    You should let us know of any reason why you should be allowed to move.

  • Will I be charged for exchanging?

    We will not charge you for going through the process or for the gas and electrical checks we carry out. You are responsible for covering the costs of moving.

    Please remember, that it is illegal to offer or accept money or any other incentive for a mutual exchange.

  • Can I cancel my exchange?

    Yes - you are not legally committed to the exchange until the deeds of assignment have been signed. You are unable to change your mind after these have been signed.

     

  • Can I swap with more than one person(s)?

    Yes - if you find a property you like but your home isn’t quite right for that tenant you can look for a third person to create a multi-swap. This is where three or more tenants all swap in a chain.

  • Can I swap to another property outside of the local area?

    Yes - you can swap your property with another council or housing association tenant.

    If you are looking to move to a specific location the landlord in that area may not be ‘signed-up’ to Homeswapper so you may want to search on the alternative sites. If you contact the local authority or housing association directly they will be able to advise on which system they use for their tenants or whether they have their own mutual exchange register.

     

  • Will my tenancy terms remain the same when I move?

    Before committing to a move you should check the terms of your new tenancy agreement to make sure you understand and are happy with them. The agreements might not be the same as your old one - for example - the rent you pay may be different, there may be restrictions on the Right to Buy or succession and there may be special conditions such as a ‘no pets’ rule.

    If you are unsure, get independent housing advice before you exchange tenancies.

  • Are my rights to exchange protected under LHP?

    You have protected rights if you were a:

    • former North East Lincolnshire Council tenant who transferred to Shoreline Housing Partnership in March 2005 and then to LHP in April 2018, or
    • former Boston Borough Council tenant who transferred to Boston Mayflower in November 1999 and then to LHP in April 2018.

    The person you are exchanging with may not have the same rights and as a result of the exchange you may lose some of those rights - for example - if you have the ‘Preserved Right to Buy’ and move to another landlord you will lose this right.

  • Am I responsible for the property condition of my new home and the fixtures and fittings?

    You are responsible for making sure that the property you want to move to is in good repair and is suitable for your needs. You will be responsible for:

    • the outgoing tenants’ alteration
    • the state of the decoration in the property you exchange to
    • the cost of any remedial repairs, if they are considered rechargeable.

    If there is anything you are unsure about, you should get proof from the outgoing tenant before you exchange.

    We’ve put together a handy fixtures and fittings checklist to help you.

  • What happens once my application is submitted?

    Once you make an application we have 42 days (six weeks) to make a decision on whether permission is granted. We will:

    Step 1 – Initial check of the application
    Check to see if you are eligible to exchange.

    Step 2 - Property inspection
    Arrange to inspect your home to identify any repairs or property condition issues which need putting right before the exchange can go ahead. An exchange may be approved subject to you undertaking any conditions and we may revisit the property to make sure these have been completed.

    Step 3 - Final decision on the exchange
    We will make a decision whether to approve the exchange

    Step 4 - Exchanging the tenancy and moving
    We will arrange to meet with you and the tenant you are exchanging with to sign the Deed of Assignment documents. These must be signed before you can move. We will also provide you with the most up-to-date Energy Performance Certificate and Asbestos Survey and book gas and electric safety test appointments for your new home.

    Use our handy checklist to keep track of your application and any actions you need to carry out.

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